Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Keeping broken, outdated electronics out of land fills conserves resources, limits pollution

When you think of recycling, you likely think of paper, plastic and cans, along with taking glass bottles to central sites throughout the community. But what about the electronic items that break or are outpaced by recent technology or new releases you want?

We have a lot of electronic devices in our lives. According to a report by Arris, 80% of people have two or more working cellphones in their household. And 78% of those surveyed said they have two computers or more in their homes, with 41% saying they have two or more tablets. And that’s just the working devices. Many of us have broken or outdated cellphones, computers and/or tablets.

Many people believe recycling electronics is hard. Almost half say they have never recycled any electronics. Some admit to putting their cellphone, computer or laptop in the garbage. We can do better.

Why donate/recycle?

From the EPA website: Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources, and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.

For every million cellphones we recycle, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

With the population of Albuquerque at 563,165 and the population of New Mexico at 2,115,877 we could account for a million cellphones annually ourselves.

Manufacturers can use the recovered metals to make new products. IBISWorld estimated the revenue generated by the US electronics recycling industry in 2019 reached almost $15 billion.

If we don’t recycle, the substances can contaminate land, air and water.

What can I take?

The complete list of e-waste accepted by the city of Albuquerque can be found at cabq.gov. Sandoval County’s list is at sandovalcountynm.gov.

Items accepted include computers, fax machines, CPUs, CRT monitors, printed circuit boards, mice, typewriters, DVD and VHS players, stereo equipment, iPods, thumb drives, hard drives, LCD monitors, scanners, cables and cords, memory devices, telephones and cellphones, drills and small tools, printers, laptops, servers, plotters, modems, keyboards, copiers and cameras.

Where can I take it?

In Albuquerque, you can recycle your e-waste at the city’s Eagle Rock Convenience Center, 6301 Eagle Rock NE, off Alameda Boulevard, phone (505) 768-3925. It’s open from 8 am to 5 pm seven days a week, but vehicles arriving after 4:30 pm will not be admitted. Disposal fees apply. (The other two convenience centers, Don Reservoir near 98th and Central, and Montessa Park near Broadway and Bobby Foster, do not accept recyclables.) Cost is $5.25 a load – cash, check, Mastercard, Visa and American Express accepted.

Sandoval County residents may access the county Landfill and Composting Facility at 2708 Iris Road NE in Rio Rancho from 8 am to 4 pm Mondays through Saturdays; closed Sundays and most holidays, and in inclement weather and if winds exceed 25 mph. Proof of residency, such as a utility bill, a bill showing your address or a driver’s license may be required. E-waste accepted includes CPUs, PCs, laptops, keyboards and mice. There is no charge.

Los Lunas has a registered drop-off recycling center just north of the Fred Luna Multigenerational Center on Don Pasqual Road. There, the following electronics can be recycled at no charge: computers, monitors, computer peripherals (mice/keyboards), printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines, phones, backup batteries, laptops, gaming systems, batteries, VCR/DVD players and stereos.

E-recycling is made even easier with the partnership of Goodwill Industries of New Mexico and the Albuquerque Computer and Electronics Recycling Company. Together, they provide a free recycling program where consumers can responsibly recycle any brand of unwanted computers or other computer equipment in any condition.

They accept the following types of e-waste donations, free of charge, in any condition: computers, laptops, printers, scanners, hard drives, keyboards, mice, speakers, cords and cables, cellphones, tablets, and ink and toner cartridges. Goodwill has sites throughout Albuquerque, in Bernalillo, Rio Rancho and Los Lunas. See their website for a complete list of locations, goodwillnm.org/e-waste-recycling.html

Another resource for consumers and businesses is Albuquerque Computer & Electronics Recycling Co., 3726 Hawkins St. NE. You can “drop off end-of-life electronics, including computers, printers, microwaves, vacuums, TVs and more. Many items are free to recycle, while some have a small processing fee.” For more information, call (505) 990-3732 or go to albuquerquerecycling.net.

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